Frank Horvat Band – Strange Machine
Front man, Frank Horvat, acts as songwriter, keyboardist and sometime singer but leaves the parts you really want to hear to TFHB’s main vocalist, Felicity Williams, who has lent her gift to many other great Canadian acts such as Bahamas, Snowblink, Hobson’s Choice and Alex Lukashevsky. THOMAS’ Thom Gill adds his languid guitar to the sound while multi-instrumentalists, Bram Gielen, on bass and Evan Tighe, on drums and percussion, add to the great wall of texture that makes the band’s distinct sound. Formed in 2013 by Canadian composer/pianist Frank Horvat, The Frank Horvat Band’s uncreative name hides a wildly creative sound and a roster of ultra talented musicians. An indie art rock band with an electronic edge, they create a textured atmospheric sound that envelops you with the sweet and soaring voice of Felicity Williams (Bahamas).
Frank Horvat Band are: Ghislain Aucoin (vocals), Kismet Cooper (vocals), Michael Davidson (vibes),Christine Duncan (vocals), Oleksandra Fedyshyn (violin), Thom Gill (vocals, guitar)), Bram Gielen (bass), Justin Haynes (guitar), Frank Horvat (Keys, Songwriting), Jean Martin (Percussion), Erika Nielsen (cello), Joseph Phillips (Bass), Evan Tighe (Percussion) , Felicity Williams (vocals)..
So as luck would have it I spontaneously jumped over to their Soundcloud page (above link) to get a taste. With The Frank Horvat Band I get a sense of urgency. A need to capture the moments before they are gone and you forget. Sometimes, it’s about the dust left behind by what just got burned off, and the sense of loss that comes with that. Sometimes it’s about the flame, and that burning feeling – that sometimes painful feeling – of being alive, without being able to control much of anything. Sometimes, it’s about the smoke, and how everything gets so blurry that it’s impossible to see anything clearly, how everything gets so foggy that it feels like there is no plan, just luck, good or bad. In the end it’s a real rush. The Frank Horvat sound defiantly has a “Electronic” foundation compared to the European stuff I often listen to. The songwriting via these collection of 10 tracks aims to promote more striking and stark messages than is common in harder elelectronica based music these days while not holding back at all from rocking out, or reducing the songs to a sanitized versions of themselves.
Starting things off straight away with the title track it’s an absolute appetizer with compartmentalized movement, progressive electro-rock ambience, melodic bass lines, and inviting synth melody that really sets the initial mood. All songs have a limitless feel that makes the world seem right but there is an invigorating sense of despair that your future might not look so bright as your past – hence the title of some of the songs are kind of dangerous. This leads us right into one of my favorite territory of the album “Fishworshipper”, “The Drill” and “wasteland 2.” These first 4 songs have more of a direct and a harder approach, still with style and grace, as the tantalizing synth, drum, guitar redundancies. Also present Cello, Violin and Percussive accents. As the piece moves forward the guitar progression and rhythm section becomes louder. The song is a true ambient-dub Rock staple.
What I like about “Strange Machine” is all songs featured are kind of bipolar or even passive/aggressive like with hard hitting “Tool”. Speaking of which their meandering sound kind of re minds me of Tool. The initial mood shifts gears a bit with danceable “Do You Ever Notice.” There are no real limitations when it comes to this amazing set of songs from The Frank Hovat band. They sort of reminds me of Tommy Trach, Nicky Romero, AN21, Swanky Tubes and Albun Myers. Call me crazy but I can also hear Morcheeba, Enigma, Hooverphonic and The Crystal Method. Intermittent vocals from 5 vocalists total fit this sound like a hand in glove. The whole musical experience provides wonderful progressive energy and infectious hard rock ambience. All songs provide much in the way of musical latitude and psychedelic nuances.
Bravo to this band for keeping it real on the high side: All these songs are solid but the 2 most marketable standouts for me are “Fishworshipper” and “Human Cyborg.” A musical visionary like Frank Hovart adheres to the standard. I can honestly say his music entertained me from start to finish armed with nothing more than an open mind and 45+ minutes of time.
Score: 3.5/5 Stars
by Kelly Eastman. Approved by Cyrus Rhodes.